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Pvt telecom cos offer revenue share mode for ADC

Our Bureau

New Delhi , Sept. 8

THE controversy over access deficit charges (ADC) seems to be heading towards a resolution with private telecom operators agreeing to pay the charges if it is collected in the form of revenue share instead of loading it on the calls.

The telecom regulator had earlier suggested a similar formula whereby Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) will get the deficit charges from a consolidated fund pool instead of collecting it from the calls made.

In a letter to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Mr T. V. Ramachandran, Director General, Cellular Operator's Association of India said, "Probably, one of the better ways of recovering a genuine access deficit would be through a percentage revenue share levy which is linked to revenues that are accounted rather than on a per call basis which is not accounted. The revenue share levies could go into a suitable fund from which disbursements could be made to all qualifying applicants as per transparently formulated rules and procedures. This method would provide good safeguards against anti-competitive actions by any of the players."

The Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India (AUSPI) has also given its consent to the idea of revenue share.

If the revenue share formula is agreed upon by BSNL, consumers can expect a further reduction in call charges.

Currently, deficit charges is collected as part of the tariff from each call. Local calls, for instance, attract ADC levy of 30 paise per minute. In the proposed method, the charges will be collected just like the universal services obligation (USO) fund is collected now. All operators pay about 5 per cent of their annual revenues for the USO fund, which is disbursed by the Government as when a phone is deployed in unviable areas.

ADC is also a levy imposed by TRAI for funding loss-making telephones in economically backward segments.

Operators said TRAI must ensure that the monetary support in the form of ADC to BSNL is channelled only to fund its rural obligations and does not allow BSNL or anyone else to use ADC to predate on competition and to subsidise non-rural operations.

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